An Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed today that his cabinet has failed to sign off on plans for water charges, at its meeting held earlier this morning.
Speaking today during Leader’s Questions, the Taoiseach appeared to confirm that households would pay at least €240.00 on average per year for the next two years. However he also confirmed that the Government had not signed off on agreed figures.
Mr Kenny also admitted that this new charge would be difficult for households to accept, but stressed that the need for a new entity that can provide new water infrastructure was imperative, with up to 40% of the water in Dublin city currently leaking into the ground.
He said that on the advice received from the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan, the maximum subvention allowed cannot exceed €537m and this equates to an average bill of €240 per household per year. No information was made available on the implications of water charges for families, specifically in relation to metering and each citizens ability to pay. A free allowance is expected to be available to all households, but the extent of same remains also not yet clear.
Unconfirmed reports state that an added standing charge of less than €50 per annum is also being proposed and it is also understood that households that have not been metered when these water charges come into effect in the autumn, will now be accessed on the basis of the number of persons living in each household.
Homeowners will be charged for using water from October 2014, but will not have to pay until January next year.
It will come as no surprise to North Tipperary residents that Templemore, Roscrea and Thurles have been named in the top 100 of Ireland’s poorest towns.
Well that is according to a recent published survey undertaken by Teagasc, latter the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, who have studied the effect of the economic downturn on rural Ireland, taking into account emigration and unemployment over recent years.
The downturn has been felt everywhere, but its impact has been far from equal, with Carrick-on-Suir in South Tipperary rated 4th poorest in the country.
This report on the Economic Strength of Rural Towns in Ireland has found that there is a wide variation in how they have been affected by the economic crisis. The report by Teagasc found that there is a significant difference between towns within a particular region and found that the Midlands, South East and West have the highest concentration of the weakest towns, while areas of the South West have the highest concentration of strongest towns.
A government plan to assist rural towns is expected be launched next week and Teagasc Senior Research Officer Dr David Meredith said the solutions to the challenges that these towns now face will have to be tailored to their own specific needs rather than a ‘one size fits all strategy‘ which he believes will not simply work.
This new report was undertaken to support the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas, which is expected to be launched on Monday next and appears to contradict recently published employment figures which showed that 96 people in Thurles had left the live register of unemployed persons, many choosing instead to either emigrate or return to unassisted further education.
Thurles set to become one of Ireland’s Active Travel Towns with €510,000 investment.
Public Transport Minister Alan Kelly and Thurles-based Councillor John Kennedy have announced that Thurles is set to benefit from over a half million Euro investment and be designated one of Ireland’s Active Travel Towns. The initiative will see nine Irish towns granted funding for local cycling and walking strategies, including new cycle lanes, provision of walkways and behavioural change initiatives in local schools and workplaces to encourage people to switch their transport mode.
This funding for Thurles will see the creation of cycle routes through the town of Thurles from Brittas Road, Kickham Street, Parnell Street and Stradavoher Road to be linked with off-road footpaths cycle paths along the Suir paths at Thomond Road Suir Crossing, College Lane Suir Crossing and at Scoil Bhride Railway crossing. Thurles will receive over half a million Euro (€510,000) which will go as an allocation to North Tipperary County Council. The total national fund comes to €6.6 million. The ‘Active Travel Towns‘ programme represents further investment in the National Cycle Policy Framework as set out under the Programme for Government.
“This is a real boost for Thurles,” stated Cllr John Kennedy. “The town has been crying out for some investment and thankfully we have a local Minister in Alan Kelly who is able to provide that. I’m glad to see it will bring some employment and will improve the ability for children to get more safely through the town and with less danger from traffic. It will also see an active travel coordinator appointed for the town,” Cllr John Kennedy continued.
Announcing the news at lunch time today, Minister Alan Kelly, said the news would have a hugely positive benefit on the town of Thurles and make cycling provision much easier and safer for children in particular.
“This represents a major investment in Thurles and is great news for the town. In the first instance, jobs will be created during the construction of this infrastructure. Secondly, it will significantly improve cycling facilities for commuters and families alike. Cycling has a huge role to play in people’s quality of life and I am delighted to be able to announce this funding for Thurles,” Minister Kelly stated.
“We are trying to create a more cycle-friendly and walking-friendly culture in Ireland. Infrastructure is one dimension but you have to do more to get people to change their behaviour. Better infrastructure needs to be combined with education initiatives and that is exactly what we are doing with this programme. We have moved away from just funding piece-meal projects to try and get a combined planned approach to walking and cycling and linking it to a town as a whole strategy. This will combine infrastructure improvements with behavioural change measures to encourage people to use the new infrastructure and to leave the car at home. There is huge scope for change and this needs to be driven locally,” concluded Minister Kelly.
The National Cycle Policy Framework outlines the importance of creating a culture of cycling in Ireland if cycling mode share is to increase. Securing effective increased bicycle and walking mode share requires a focus to be placed on population and employment centres.The Active Travel Towns programme is a multi-annual funding support programme to support the strategic development of walking and cycling in towns outside the Greater Dublin Area. The principal objective of the Active Travel Towns programme is to achieve modal shift from car to either walking and/or cycling within towns.
A competitive funding scheme was launched in July 2013 seeking local authority proposals to deliver walking and cycling infrastructure with a key focus on behaviour change interventions in towns around the country. 46 projects were submitted under this funding call from 19 local authorities. Funding is now being provided for nine of these proposals. The funding will deliver a good balance of infrastructural measures for walking and cycling coupled with focused behavioural change interventions and evaluation measures to ensure modal shift with towns is achieved. The successful projects place strong focus on interlinks between residential areas, workplaces and schools and, in many cases, public transport.
Cycling the proposed Thurles routes with Councillor Kennedy this morning, Minister Kelly stated; “This funding is going towards realising the programme for Government commitment to continue to invest and expand in our national cycling infrastructure.“
Important Community Notice
North Tipperary LEADER Partnership invite you to attend the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh, Co Tipperary on Thursday April 10th, 2014, at 8.00pm sharp.
The purpose of this meeting is to discuss responses to serious changes which will affect community development and the Rural Development Programme (LEADER) in North Tipperary.
What are the issues at stake in Tipperary?
• Proposed Privatisation of Community Services.
• Loss of Social inclusion Services.
• Loss of nearly €3 million funding for additional programmes and investment brought into North Tipperary through other schemes.
• Loss of community involvement in decision making.
NOTE: All are welcome to attend.
For further information, please contact: Tel: 067-56676
Mr Jim Finn, (Chairperson of North Tipperary LEADER Partnership) reports;
“You may be aware of plans that are being progressed at national level, that will fundamentally change how rural and community development is delivered around Ireland. These changes signify a shift away from delivery by the community and voluntary sector towards statutory agencies and private companies. The implications of the planned changes are serious for all Local Development Companies including North Tipperary LEADER Partnership and the communities which we serve.
We are writing to invite you to a public meeting, the purpose of which is to raise awareness among individuals, community groups and other third sector organisations across North Tipperary of the planned changes in the delivery of the Local and Community Development Programme (social inclusion) and the Rural Development Programme (LEADER). The event will highlight the current role of NTLP and the impact of proposed changes on both communities and individuals. It will outline the implications for local communities and the community and voluntary sector in general of proposals that will likely lead to the privatisation of service delivery in some instances. It is envisaged that beneficiaries of our programmes/services will have an input at the event and that a cross section of goods and services will be displayed.
The Board and Staff of North Tipperary LEADER Partnership would very much appreciate your support and welcome your attendance at a Public Meeting on Thursday April 10th, 2014 at 8.00 pm in the Abbey Court Hotel, Nenagh.”
These serious proposed changes are being viewed by rural inhabitants as a denigration of rural community democracy and therefore as many people as possible are invited to attend, including those who currently are seeking office in the upcoming local & European elections.
Late Mr John Joseph Ryan, TD.
The death has occurred today of former Irish Labour Party politician Mr John Joseph Ryan of 26 St Patrick’s Terrace and late of 91 Silver Street, Nenagh, at the age of 86.
John J. Ryan (born 17 June 1927) was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1973 General Election, as a Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) for the constituency of Tipperary North.
Mr Ryan was re-elected at each subsequent General Election before eventually losing his seat in 1987. He was elected to the Industrial and Commercial Panel of the 19th Seanad in 1989. During the 1992 General Election he again re-gained his Dáil seat, representing Tipperary North. Mr Ryan also served as Leas-Cheann Comhairle (Deputy Chairman) of the Dáil from 1982 until 1987. He retired officially from politics in 1997.
Mr Ryan’s passing is deeply regretted by his loving wife Ina and his beloved children Gerry, Diane and Paula, his sister Ann, grandchildren Aoife, Niamh and Elaine, nephews and nieces, cousins, neighbours, relatives and many friends.
Reposing at Ryan’s funeral home in Nenagh, tomorrow Friday, from 5.00pm with removal at 7.00pm, arriving at St Mary of The Rosary Church, Nenagh, at 7.30pm. Following Requiem Mass on Saturday at 12.00 noon, his body will be buried afterwards in Lisboney, (new cemetery) Nenagh.
Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílis.